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I need to be honest and review my why to keep myself on track and motivated. This post is one of the hardest blog posts for me to write since the start of this blog as it is something that is highly personal and somewhat unpleasant, but here goes.
Ever since my son was born in 2009, my dad has been nagging me about my weight. Even as he came to visit my week old son, and then later, daughter, he would tell me that I need to lose weight. And yet, I did nothing; at least not until my son told me that I have a fat belly. My father is not the kind of guy who sugarcoats anything, if anything he is sharp as a stiletto, and his comments are quick and will dent your ego good. Why is it that I listened to my 2 year old son but not my older and wiser father? Because I am a mommy.
Growing up, I have been exposed to many different points of view on food. I was raised by my grandparents, and whose food perspective is from a different time. My grandfather used to tell me that when he was young his family was definitely well-to-do “because we had fresh fruits in the house everyday.” He taught me to appreciate food and what goes into it, not just the ingredients but also the effort. I used to watch him shop for ingredients, prepare foods, and enjoy them together. My grandparents used to worry that I was too skinny, so I would be fed herbal medicine that “opens appetite.” I was taught to clean my plate (think of all the starving children in Ethiopia!), which was a habit I had to deliberately undo when I turned 26 years old.
I have also seen up close what a warped relationship with food can do. My stepmother is anorexic/orthorexic and my half sister battled with bulimia at a young age. My college roommate was a bulimic and though she was not a bad person, the experience turned me off to having a roommate for a long time. Having an eating disorder, in my opinion, makes a person really difficult to be around. I have seen first hand that eating disorder can be passed from parent to child, and I was not too happy with my father and stepmother when it came to light that my little sister was bulimic. I think that having that around in my life made me even more negative to the idea of of weight and diet management. If my father wasn’t so overzealous about nagging my little sister for being overweight as a tween and my stepmother wasn’t so into looking thin, would she have suffered from bulimia all those years? Even now these issues still causes me to feel less than at ease when I am around my family at times. When I see someone get obsessed with a diet du jour or hold up beauty and health up as a religion, I just feel repulsed and sad.
It is no surprise then, whereas I did not respond to my father’s nagging it took that one slap on the belly from my 2 year old to get me into action. Because being a mother is an incredible responsibility and that my children are looking at me to model the way of relating to food and their own body, and I need to get myself in better shape! I had to genuinely love my body, which means taking better care of it. I also had to make sure I learn about nutrition, model good food management habits, and live a sensible and healthy lifestyle that my children can learn and draw from. I want to set up a healthy lifestyle and not a lifestyle around dieting. I want to change my lifestyle more than I actually want to lose weight. I want to lose body fat and get healthier. I hate the word and the idea of dieting. I will not “diet” — I will “plan to eat” instead.
I will not forbid the eating of any food (like ice cream), but moderate their presence in our lives. I will still bake cookies for my kids, but it will not be a daily treat. Since the start of this year I have had to think about not only how to manage my own fitness, but how to manage the health of my family. What will my children learning from me? What are the rules we set around eating as a family? What are the habits that they will learn (and hopefully won’t have to unlearn)? How will we deal with the less than healthy foods that they will be presented outside of the home, like at school?
I thought that this blog will just be about my own fitness journey and a way to keep me on track, but obviously I will have so much to think about and figure out!!
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